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It’s common knowledge that people want to be recognized – in some way, shape, or form – of their achievements and hard work. This rings especially true in the workforce. Who wants to work for a company that fails to see them as a valuable employee and instead sees them as just another number? Recognition works to motivate employees to continue succeeding in their roles, strive for bigger and better things, and can help improve retention rates. This is incredibly helpful for those highly-coveted employees, like software developers.

Still not convinced? Here are a few stats on the impact of employee recognition:

While financial praises (like a raise or bonus) are often the first thing most employers think about, it turns out developers are interested in other ideas. We asked developers what they look for in a new job, as well as what they think is important at work, and noticed a few trends of things that keep them happy.

Help them continue to learn

It’s no surprise that technical employees constantly want to learn new things – new technologies, new programming languages, new software, you name it. So why not help accelerate this ongoing learning by rewarding your developers with the tools they need to do so?

RJ Martino, President of iProv, has implemented a variety of employee recognition ideas for his IT staff. He says, “Technical employees often are not motivated by money like other employees. In fact, our best technical employees love to learn. And one of the most well-received recognition ideas is buying and giving employees the latest gear including drones, new laptops, software, or even just the latest gadgets.”

Provide them with an experience

Cash bonuses or bagels on a Friday are common tangible rewards employees often get, but what about giving employees an experience instead? Has your Mobile Developerbeen talking non-stop about that tech conference he wants to attend? Buy him tickets. Do you know that your Engineering Manager hasn’t taken a vacation in a year? Give her a week off to travel with her family.

Blueboard, a company that curates personal and memorable experiences for employees of various companies, does just that. Morgan Chaney, their Head of Marketing, says, “We find that experiences as rewards are more memorable, personal, and shareable than tactics like gift cards or cash, and ultimately have reported lifts in employee motivation, feeling of value, and have created a more positive company culture.” In fact, she says they just sent a tech employee from Guidewire skydiving as a reward.

Left, a media and technology company, implemented something similar. John Lyotier, Left’s Co-Founder, says, “We sent Alan Bailward, our Lead Technologist, on a whiskey picnic held on the top of an isolated glacier accessible only by helicopter.” It’s obvious that not every company has a budget this large (or employees this fearless), but you can still implement recognition programs by providing employees with some type of experience.

When all else fails, just ask

It sounds simple, yet so many companies rely on traditional benefits or perks as recognition rewards. No two employees are the same, so not everyone in your company sees bagels on Friday as a groundbreaking reward. Sure, it may take some of the surprise out of the reward, but ultimately it helps you get to know your employees better and reward them with something that matters to them.

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